Primary Results Signal Tenor Of Races To Come
Catawba College political science professor Michael Bitzer, who writes for WFAE's Party Line political blog, discusses with Morning Edition host Marshall Terry the race for North Carolina governor and how passage of Amendment One may affect the general election.
Terry: Once again former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory is facing a Lt. Governor, this time Walter Dalton, in the general election campaign to be governor of North Carolina. Are there any other similarities we'll see between this fall and 2008?
Bitzer: Well certainly we're going to see the similarities of the Obama campaign coming into North Carolina and making it a grassroots mobilization and organization campaign. That really surprised a lot of Republicans in 2008, and I think the McCrory campaign needs to learn the lesson of 2008 that organization and grassroots mobilization is going to be the key to capturing the governor's mansion this fall.
Terry: How do you think this gubernatorial election will be different?
Bitzer: Both Dalton and McCrory are seen as kind of North Carolina moderates. But Dalton is going to have to have progressives and liberals in his camp. And McCrory certainly needs the power of the Tea Party in his side as well. I think this going to be a very fierce, very competitive election again like we saw in 2008.
Terry: President Obama has come out against Amendment One and voters approved it anyway by an overwhelming majority yesterday. Does this indicate any problems for the president in winning North Carolina again this fall?
Bitzer: I think it focuses on the fact that again those kind of wedge social issues can be very divisive and can reflect North Carolina's center-right coalition. But what I think this may do is probably wake up the Obama base of voters to say 'we have got to get engaged and enthusiastic.' Right now, they're not at the level that folks like the Tea Party and Republican base operatives are at. So maybe this is a clear warning sign to them.
Terry: Any surprises for you yesterday?
Bitzer: None that we weren't expecting. The 9th and the 8th congressional district GOP races going to a July runoff, I think everybody expected that.
Terry: Thank you so much for joining me this morning, I really appreciate it.
Bitzer: My pleasure.